Time Out says
Shiya Goshima is no ordinary Japanese restauranteur. While many a Japanese master serves you their creation, stoically steps back and allows their craft to speak for itself, Goshi-san (as he’s more affectionately known) is passionate, animated and talks about sake with a twinkle in his eye.
His former restaurant, also named Godenya, used to be one of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Located in the northeastern suburb of Sumida, you could easily walk past the six-seat eatery without batting an eye at the low-key exterior. Regardless, patrons from all over Japan made the trek to the nondescript diner to sample its sensational sake and food pairings.
Despite the acclaim, Goshi-san’s amibition is bigger than Japan. He closed Godenya in Tokyo and later decamped to Hong Kong, reopening the restaurant on Kau U Fong. You’d think it impossible to replicate the covert location the original enjoyed in Japan, but Goshi-san eventually found just the spot. Though the official address places it on Wellington Street, the entrance is actually down a grungy alley. Even once you’re in the alley it’s not an obvious spot – a rusted sliding door set inside bare concrete walls turns out to be the unmarked entrance.
We enter the six-seat establishment, and Goshi-san has already printed the night’s menu for us. There is only a single set menu available with a fixed sake pairing. Each course is labeled with the accompanying sake’s name, grade, and the right temperature to serve. You heard right. As if on cue, Goshi-san begins tasting and measuring the temperature of the rice wine with a thermometer. Did we mention Godenya is all about sake? Don’t come here expecting any soft beverage other than water, and don’t even think about trying the meal without the alcohol pairing – you might as well listen to your favourite album with the volume off.
When we asked Goshi-san why he would close up shop in Tokyo to come to Hong Kong, he tells us it’s his dream to showcase to the world what sake has to offer, and Hong Kong was his first stop. Judging by what we sampled on our visit, he’s certainly got what it takes to elevate the appreciation of rice wine to a whole new level. Expect an evening where delectable food takes a backseat to demonstrate the incredible versatility of sake, and that’s what Goshi-san is all about.
G/F, 182 Wellington St (entrance on Kau U Fong), Central
|Opening hours:||Tues-Sat 7pm-10.30pm|